Why The Weekend Is Killing Your Fat Loss And How You Can Stop It

Ah yes, the weekend – the magical time between Friday (or Thursday if you’re awesome like that) and Monday that’s filled with excitement and endless possibilities.

Oh yeah, and dietary debauchery as well, and it’s absolutely killing your fat loss results.

I hear it all of the time: “I was doing so well during the week but fell off hard during the weekend.” I don’t know what it is about weekend that leads to many people looking in the mirror Monday after Monday wondering what the hell happened over just a few short days, but I do have a few Einstenian theories.

Let’s face it, dieting can be hard, so it’s helpful to know that on Wednesday you just have to last a few more days before you can ease up on the gas pedal a bit and get your mind right before jumping back onto your diet on Monday. I completely understand it. It’s nice to be able to go out with friends without having to worry about your intake as much as you do during the week.

You also have the untamed Wild West nature of the weekend. Unless you’re Beyonce or a travelling assassin for hire, odds are your weekdays have a pretty consistent level of structure. You know you’re going to be at home for a certain amount of time before going to work, and once there you know roughly how long you’ll be there before heading somewhere else and so on until you end up back in bed. With these variables in place it’s much easier to keep your diet in check as opposed to the weekend when the normal structure of life disappears and the likelihood of going buck wild with your food intake increases.

Then finally we have the scenario where you become your own worst enemy.

The way that a lot of people structure their diet is based entirely around the deprivation mindset and the belief that there is no room for treats and “non-diet” foods – a Spartan-like rigidity and adherence tends to accompany this style of dieting.

I don’t have any issue with this way of doing things if this is just how that person rolls, but what often happens as a result is that when the weekend rolls around they feel like they deserve to eat those foods that they’ve blacklisted (and eat more food in general) because they stuck to their diet so well during the week.  So they eat, and because they’ve deprived themselves for so long and they know that they won’t be eating like this again for at least another week they eat a bit (read:a lot) more of it than they otherwise would have.

So how does the weekend slow down fat loss in the real world?

First we’ll start with the optimal scenario. Let’s assume that during the week you’re crushing it like the boss you are and by Friday night you’ve been in a deficit of 3,500 calories (roughly a 700 calorie deficit per day), earning yourself 1lb of fat loss. Awesome!

Now Saturday and Sunday roll around. You plan to stay the course, but you end up eating 500 calories over your maintenance each day. Because of this, you can go ahead and subtract 1,000 calories from that 3,500 calorie deficit you created during the week, putting you at 2,500 calories burned in total which will net you a little more than half a pound of fat loss for the week.

Not bad at all.

Now let’s talk about what usually goes down.

Let’s assume that during the week you think you’re crushing it diet wise, but due to not moving as much as you think you are and not tracking your intake as well as you should, sneaking extra bites of food here and there, by the time Friday night rolls around you’ve only accumulated a 1,750 calorie deficit, which is half a pound of fat. That’s cool though, because you still have two more days to put in work, right?

Mmmmmmhmm.

It’s weekend time, and once again you end up going over your maintenance by 500 calories on both Saturday and Sunday – go ahead and knock 1,000 calories off that 1,750 calorie deficit you already created, putting you at 750 calories for the week which ends being a face-palm worthy .2lbs worth of fat loss. This becomes even more painful once you do the math and realize that at this rate it would take another 4 weeks before you even saw 1lb of fat loss.

This is the very definition of 3 steps forward/2 steps back, and there is only one thing to say about that situation:

How To Not Become Another Weekend Statistic

1. Be extremely diligent during the week in preparation for the weekend.

If you’re one of those people that no matter how much sense it makes to change your weekend eating habits but isn’t going to actually do it, then this option makes the most sense for you. If you know you’re going to be in food heaven during the weekend, then the only other variable that you can control is to hit your deficit hardcore during the week and make sure that you’re on top of tracking your intake.

Think of it as preemptive damage control.

This way, even if you end up going over your calories a bit on the weekend, you’re still in a pretty decent deficit for the entire week. Strength training on the weekend helps a bit as well in the sense that you have nutrient partitioning on your side (some of the additional calories going towards muscle repair).

Just know that this strategy alone can only take you so far and at some point, depending on your results and if you want to speed them up, you’re going to have to bring change to the weekend.

2. Rock out for 5 days, maintain for 2.

If you cant handle an aggressive deficit during the week, then this is a good option that gives you the best of both worlds: you can choose a less harsh deficit Monday-Friday and then on Saturday & Sunday you can simply eat at maintenance. This way you can still accumulate a pretty decent weekly deficit which is great because you’re eating to maintain on the weekend and therefore you aren’t backsliding and erasing any of the gains that you’ve already made.

I would also make sure that you include some delicious, traditionally “non-diet food” into your meal plan during the week so that you don’t feed into that sense of deprivation, decreasing the chances of you going wild with such foods on the weekend. This is something that I suggest implementing during any diet.

3. Use Intermittent Fasting

I’m a huge fan of intermittent fasting as both a diet strategy and a long term lifestyle choice, but it  can also do wonders in the short term. For example, you would eat a sizable meal on Friday night before bed and on Saturday go about your day, holding off eating your first meal for as long as you can. If you have to eat sooner rather than later, turn it into a game and see how little food you can get away with until you go out to dinner; make your first meal a small portion of your overall calories (I.E. if your caloric budget for the day is 1800 calories, eat a 200-400 calorie meal with lots of protein and fiber for satiety which will help hold you over).

By doing this, at the end of the end of the night you’ll still have room for another 1400-1600 calories which is an amazingly satisfying amount of food, unless you go out of your way fill that quota with crap, but that’s another issue entirely. Rinse and repeat on Sunday.

Does it suck to have to watch what you eat on the weekend while everyone else around you eats whatever they want? It all depends on your mindset. It sucks more to have an entire weeks worth of results crippled by two days worth of dietary weakness. It also sucks to have it take 5 months to lose only 5lbs because you kept repeating the same weekend errors over and over again.

At the end of the day an uncontrolled weekend can absolutely ruin a good week, and if you think otherwise then you need to get your head checked. This is America, baby, home of the Luther Burger! Life is full of compromises, and if you want to lose fat at any appreciable rate of speed you’re going to make some one way or another.

Get in there, make it happen, and get on with the rest of your life.

“Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
- Muhammad Ali

 Photo Credit: Naomi Ibuki

Quest Protein: The Most Awesome Protein Bar You’ve Never Heard Of

Alright folks, I busted out the video camera for this one, so you KNOW it must be business time.

For those of you who frequent my site, you know I like to throw down a serious amount of food, which more often than not leads to both inner shame and public embarrassment. I’m a big fan of sweets – pies, cakes, and more specifically MAN’S GREATEST INVENTION (formally known as the Cinnabon), so when I found out that there was a protein bar on the market that supposedly tasted like apple pie, I had to check it out.

This bar is a big ‘ol bucket full of win for several reasons.

1) Taste & Quality Ingredients

It’s pretty safe to say that if you look on the back label of most protein bars you’re going to be hit with a bunch of words that you can’t pronounce and don’t know the meaning of. For all we know know, they could be talking about our moms, and that just ain’t right!

As an example, here is the ingredient list of another apple pie flavored protein bar on the market:

Soy Crisps (Soy Protein Isolate, Tapioca Starch, Salt), Apple Layer (Apple Puree Concentrate, Deionized Apple Juice Concentrate), Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Glycerol, Vegetable Fat, Cornstarch, Wheat Fiber, Malic Acid, Calcium Lactate, Natural Flavor, Sunflower Lecithin), Yogurt Coating (Sugar, Palm Kernel Oil, Nonfat Dry Milk Solids, Yogurt Powder (Cultured Whey Protein In Concentrate, Cultured Skim Milk, Yogurt Culture), Soy Lecithin, Salt, Natural Flavor),, Corn Syrup, Crystalline Fructose, METAMYOSYN® VXP Protein Blend (Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Dried Egg White, L-Glutamine), Maltitol Syrup, Dried Apples, Palm Oil, Glycerin, Water, Canola Oil, Ground Cinnamon, Natural Flavor, Fructooligosaccharides, Vitamin And Mineral Blend (Ascorbic Acid, Tri-Calcium Phosphate, D-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate, Niacinamide, Zinc Oxide, Copper Gluconate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Cyanocobalamin), Xanthan Gum, Di-Potassium Phosphate, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Wheat Germ, Peanut Flour, Almond Meal.

Compare this to the Quest apple pie bar ingredient list:

Protein Blend (Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate), Isomalto-Oligosaccharide* (100% Natural Prebiotic Fiber), Almonds, Water, Apples, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Cinnamon, Lo Han Guo, Sucralose

* Isomalto-Oligosaccharides are 100% Natural Prebiotic Fibers derived from plant sources.

See the difference? High quality ingredients, no crappy fillers (such as soy lecithin), and no sugar alcohols, which commonly give people the farts – not a good thing if you want to eat these in the company of those you care about.

The addition of all these additives and such usually give the bar a fake, chemical taste. Quest bars, though? No such taste, and if you look at the ingredients you can see why. They’re also gluten-free to boot.

2) Caloric Intake

There are certainly a lot of protein bars on the market to choose from, but a majority of them are just glorified candy bars: tons of fat and sugar pumped into the bar to make it taste palatable while containing inferior protein sources. If you get any fiber, it’s usually a measly 1-2 grams, which is nothing to write home about. All of these additions usually increase the calorie count to at least 350-400 calories per bar.

Quest bars on the other hand contain between 170 & 210 calories (depending on the flavor) and all of them contain at least 17 grams of fiber, and at most 24 grams of carbohydrate. Do you know how incredibly dope that is? Let me break it down for you:

24g carbs – 17g fiber = 7 grams of actual carbohydrates = AWESOME!

At 20 grams of protein bar, they pretty much fit into any scenario that you can imagine without breaking your caloric budget. They’re also great to have in a pinch if you need something quick on the go or need to take the edge off before you end up going on a wild food binge and blow all of the progress that you’ve made.

So, if you don’t want to watch the video review or look at my pretty mug, here is the verdict: DELICIOUS! If someone created a gun that used these bars as ammo instead of bullets, I would willingly put my face in harms way just to try and get a bite of them as they whizzed by.

If you’ve been burned by crappy protein bars in the past, you owe it to yourself to give these bars a try. You can find them at Quest Protein Bar in a wide variety of flavors (I’ve had 3 so far myself, all delicious), and you can even try a free sample before you commit to purchasing a larger order.

If you want to go that route, I suggest buying a single bar and paying for the shipping because it may take awhile for them to ship out the free sample due to popular demand. Also if you type SHIPFREE in the coupon section of your order, you’ll get free shipping on your first order – don’t say Rog Law never gave you anything!

Just in case you were wondering, I have no affiliation with this company at all. I don’t get any sort of kickback from this review or if you end up purchasing anything – I just want to share some incredibly tasty bars with you all.